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Evaluating sources: Peer review

A guide to evaluating the credibility of the sources of information you use in your assignments.

Peer review

Peer-review (also known as refereeing) is the process journal editors use to ensure the articles they publish meet the standards of good scholarship.  Academic papers (journal articles, research papers etc) are examined by a panel of other scholars in the field (the author's peers).  The panel may decide to accept the paper, recommend revision or reject it completely.

Any resource that passes the peer-review process can be considered to have the highest level of academic credibility -  although of course you still need to consider other elements such as age, relevance etc.

Not all journals use peer-review.  Some lecturers may specify that only peer reviewed resources are to be used in assignments.

Searching for peer-reviewed articles in databases

Some databases allow you to narrow your search to return only peer-reviewed results.  Unfortunately this process differs from database to database.  Sometimes this is as easy as simply ticking a box that says “Peer-reviewed”.


JCU OneSearch logo   One Search - Tick the "Scholarly & Peer-Review" option (top left).



ProQuest logo      

 Pro-Quest –   Tick the “peer-reviewed” box on the search page prior to searching.


  Gale Academic FileOne  -  Tick “Peer Reviewed Journals" on the results page
Informit logo

Type the Yes in the PRAI - Peer Reviewed Article Indicator field

To find the PRAI - Peer Reviewed Article Indicator field:

scroll to the bottom of the search fields (in) drop down menu,

click on Show all other fields -->

scroll down to PRAI - Peer Reviewed Article Indicator 


Informit search box


Is it peer-reviewed?

Refereed and peer reviewed mean the same thing.


If you are not sure if a journal is peer reviewed look at the journal's own information or check it out in

Ulrich's international periodicals directory (online)


1. Go to Ulrich's website by clicking on this image (or via Tropicat).

2. Type the title of the journal in the Title search box.

3. If the journal has an icon like a referee's shirt next to it...




...that means it is peer reviewed.

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